WhatsApp, a personal real-time messaging network that allows millions of people to stay connected with others, has proliferated exponentially. As an application, it has an extremely high user engagement and rapid growth—thanks to its simple, powerful, and instantaneous messaging capabilities. Its excellence has transformed the way people communicate digitally, from texting via the short-messaging-service (SMS) into the chat messaging platform.
Foreseeing its superiority, in 2014, the giant social networking site Facebook acquired WhatsApp with a large amount of money, about USD 16 billion in investments. On its release, Facebook said the acquisition aimed to support both parties’ shared mission in bringing more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core Internet services efficiently and affordably. Both companies expected to accelerate growth and user engagement with their combined individual strengths.
A Crisis that Brought Opportunity
In 2018, however, Facebook faced a catastrophe that put the company under pressure. Its share prices dropped roughly to USD 123 billion due to brutal Q2 earnings.
At the same time, something incredible was happening. In some developing countries in Africa, Latin America, and South-East Asia, the market, including small-medium enterprises (SMEs), was rapidly emerging. It drove businesses by adopting new digital platforms that facilitated the exchanging of messages between producers and consumers, and WhatsApp became one of the platforms that fulfilled such commercial needs.
Qz.com stated that “WhatsApp’s straightforward interface and ‘lite’ weight have helped ensure the messaging app’s ascendancy in the emerging market across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.” One of the reasons WhatsApp could emerge in that region is because the area had “either expensive or too slow Internet access to handle some of the heavier digital platforms.”
Understanding this situation, Facebook saved itself by monetizing WhatsApp and created what we know today as WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API.
What Is WhatsApp Business API?
WhatsApp Business is a system that aims to help businesses interact with customers efficiently. It also enables business owners to respond to messages automatically.
Meanwhile, Application Programming Interface (API) is a software which enables servers to connect two or more systems together. It has no front-end interface and application.
The WhatsApp Business API system works by integrating WhatsApp Business to internal software business solutions, which enterprise entities would have already owned, as the dashboard. This way, the user can send and receive all messages via his or her WhatsApp account.
If the business players go to market with WhatsApp Business API, they have to partner with one of WhatsApp’s global business solutions providers. The provider should be messaging experts in business-to-customer communications. Qiscus, with its Multichannel Chat, is one such provider which you can engage if you wish to adopt WhatsApp Business API to power the communication process between your brand and your customer.
Why Use WhatsApp Business API?
WhatsApp Business API has benefits for your business. Firstly, it is essential because the software enables you to improve the brand presence of your business. When the customer initiates a discussion, what they see is your WhatsApp’s official account.
Secondly, it provides efficiency since one WhatsApp account can be used by hundreds of customer service agents without any limits to the number of devices connected. More importantly, WhatsApp Business API can work as Interactive Voice Responses (IVR) that are equipped with chatbot solutions.
Thirdly, the use of WhatsApp Business API enables you to plant various systems in optimizing WhatsApp functions as your business communication channels. Features you can add include auto-response, chatbots, a template message system, and many others you can explore.
Fourthly, WhatsApp Business API enables you to mask the account. Therefore, once the customer receives your contact details, they do not need to save your number because the system would automatically display and save your official WhatsApp Business account. All these advantages would lead you to one goal: improving your customers’ trust in your brand and company.
Assessing these benefits and superiority, it is no wonder that in April 2020, the chat application platform reaped a massive number of Monthly Active Users of two billion.
Trivia about WhatsApp Business API
As you might have known, WhatsApp Business API has a time limit—called SessionMessaging—to connect with the customer. The limit applies for 24 hours. So, how does the system work?
Firstly, WhatsApp Business API will not allow you to initiate a conversation with a customer, except through template messaging. Should you receive the customer’s message on WhatsApp Business API, a timer would start automatically. Its system forces the business to respond to the customer within 24 hours. After the last conversation has exceeded 24 hours, you can only use template messaging to communicate with customers.
Aside from that, there is a feature called Template Messaging. It is a series of messaging texts which are aimed at reaching out to customers beyond the messaging session. The version comes with a placeholder that is already approved by WhatsApp. The approval seeks to ensure that sales-related or bulk marketing messages cannot be easily sent to the customer after 24 hours. Template messaging aims to update the customer, for example, on matters relating to tracking order information, payment confirmation, travel notification, and many more.
Nevertheless, do bear in mind that WhatsApp will not approve Template Messaging that contains typos, implies sales or promotions in its diction. It also rejects cold call message and Template Messaging that uses floating parameters (i.e. lines with only parameters and no text).
Additionally, WhatsApp Business API also applies a charge for each Template Messaging. The fee might be different depending on the location of the message; from where it originated from and to where it is directed to.
T&Cs on Creating WhatsApp Stories
Finally, you should know that WhatsApp Business API has terms and conditions to adhere to. Firstly, The system does not allow you to create a WhatsApp story on your status.
Secondly, the customer cannot contact you via WhatsApp call, although people can call your WhatsApp API’s registered phone number via their cellphones.
Thirdly, which is the most important, you can only access WhatsApp Business API via a multichannel dashboard. It works as the front-end. Therefore, you cannot access your WhatsApp Business API via the conventional WhatsApp Mobile/WhatsApp Web features.
Qiscus has been registered as one of the official WhatsApp Global Business Solutions providers in Asia. We provide services to allow you to enjoy WhatsApp API via Qiscus Multichannel Chat. Our system is competitively priced to allow you to leverage your business efficiently. Should you be interested to know more about WhatsApp Business API and Qiscus Multichannel Chat, kindly find out more here.